12/07/19 - 10:35
Belfort - Chalon-sur-Saône
Tour de France • Stage7

Belfort - Chalon-sur-Saône

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No change in the general classification with Giulio Ciccone retaining his six-second lead over Julian Alaphlippe. Peter Sagan keeps hold of the green jersey - and indeed extends his lead over Michael Matthews.


The Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) launched early and just kept Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) at bay as the road ramped up slightly towards the line. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgroghe) third ahead of Viviani, Colbrelli and Jakobsen, I think.


Victory for Dylen Groenewegen! Just! A photo finish with Caleb Ewan!


Morkov and Richeze now leading out Viviani, with Sagan and Ewan just behind...


Under the flamme rouge and it's Bora's Daniel Oss on the front - and some argy-bargy from Groenewegen further back...


They negotiate the sweeping left-hander and now are on the long straight all the way to the line along the river.


Van Aert pulls off after a huge shift, passing baton on to Jansen, who has two Bora riders in his wake.


They pass under the magic 3km mark which should see the sprinters now come to the front with their trains. But it's all strung out - and Geraint Thomas is still right in fifth wheel or something.


Jumbo-Visma back on the front with Martin, or is it Van Aert?


Now QuickStep have come to the front. Sunweb also have two and Jumbo Visma have two. But it's all quite messy at the moment. Arkea-Samsic there for Greipel as well.


Michael Kwiatkowski drops back after a long pull as Luke Rowe takes the baton for Ineos.


It's all strung out as the road narrows and then weaves through a roundabout.


Riders being shelled out now that the teams of the sprinters have thrown down the hammer. They cross the Saone river and Ineos have come forward, too, to keep their GC men out of trouble.


Bora-Hansgrohe charge to the front. They've contributed nothing to any of the chase but now they pack their whole team forward in support of Peter Sagan.


Rossetto throws in the towel and Offredo soon follows. It's all over for the break and now it's show time.


Rossetto and Offredo still holding on - no doubt vying to be the day's most competitive rider by staying out the longest. Just 10 seconds now...


Still 20 seconds for our two leaders. And still Simon Yates is on the back of the pack.


The gap has stretched back out to 30 seconds after the peloton slowed to allow those chasers back on. Perhaps it was a mechanical for either Quintana or Martin, which dictated by fairplay that the peloton waited for them. Otherwise, things looked rather doomed for those who had been tailed off.


As for our two leaders, their gap is down to 15 seconds.


Quintana now has four Movistar riders with him as this chasing group swells to 18 riders. And it looks like a crisis has been averted because the peloton has slowed up. Quintana and Martin given a get-out-of-jail card there.


Luckily for Martin, he has UAE Team Emirates teammate Rui Costa with him - but the gap back to this 11-man group is growing. It's 30 seconds now and the peloton is showing no sign of slowing up... And Nairo Quintana is here too! The Colombian must have been back with his Movistar team car.


Quite a few riders have been shelled out the back of the pack - including Dan Martin, Jack Haig, Wout Van Aert and Simon Yates, who have been caught sleeping.


And Ag2R-La Mondiale have kept the pace hard going through the intermediate sprint and it looks like they're trying to force a split. The increase in tempo means our two leaders have just 30 seconds to play with now.


There's no contest between mates Offredo and Rossetto in the break at the intermediate sprint, with the latter rolling through just ahead of the latter. When the peloton come through, Bahrain Merida give Sonny Colbrelli the full lead-out treatment, and the Italian takes the points for third place ahead of Sagan, Viviani and Matthews.


The intermediate sprint at Mervans is coming right up - that will be a good chance for the sprinters to open up their legs ahead of the finish. The two escapees will contest the first two places but there will be plenty of green jersey points left up for grabs when the pack zips through.


Van Aert is back with the peloton after changing his wheel. The European champion Matteo Trentin is on the back now with Steve Cummings. He could be a good shout today to sneak the win - Trentin, that is, not Cummings. Cummings will be keeping his powder dry for the next three days, which are very Cummings-esque.


We have a winner, surely. Stand up, Le Chatean de Neublans...


Mechanical for Wout Van Aert of Jumbo-Visma. The Belgian lost the white jersey yesterday but is doing well so far in his Tour debut - and the rolling stages over the weekend could offer some fertile ground for the former cross star to sneak a win.


Still 50 clicks to go and the gap is still just under two minutes.



It's worth remembering that Dylan Groenewegen won last year's longest stage - the 231km Stage 7. Well, this Stage 7 is one kilometre shorter but the Dutchman, who claims he's recovered from his crash on the opening day, will be right up there with Viviani, Ewan, Sagan and Kristoff.


If you've been away for the past seven hours, well, Offredo and Rossetto are still out ahead - although their advantage is down to 1'50" now on this long, flat run into Chalon.


Well, that was a success...


The gap is down to 2'30". Ben King of Dimension Data is on the back of the peloton with the polka dot jersey, Tim Wellens of Lotto Soudal.


We're hearing that, since he took the yellow jersey yesterday, Giulio Ciccone has signed a new contract with Trek-Segafredo keeping him at the team until 2021.


Gosh, today's stage is a long one... and we still have 90 clicks to go and no climbs to break things up. The lead is three minutes.


Tony Martin is really driving the pace now on a sweeping descent after the gap ballooned back up to 4'30". He has Montfort and Asgreen behind and then the Groupama team of Thibaut Pinot. I have to say, if Dylan Groenewegen doesn't win today then Martin won't be a happy camper...


The gap creeps up to four minutes again.


It's Offredo who takes the single point over the summit so that means our two breakaway pals have 2pts each from today - with Offredo notching two Cat.4 scalps either side of Rossetto's Cat.3 success in between.


The leaders are onto the third and final climb, the Cat.4 Cote de Nans-Sous-Sainte-Anne (3.5km at 5.7%). Their lead is down to 2'30".


The road drops fast now to the foot of the next climb. The gap is down to three minutes for the duo ahead, with QuickStep's Kasper Asgreen still leading the chase with big Tony Martin.


Astana have showed their hand now, sending a few riders towards the front - and it's nothing tactical, it's because the feed zone is approaching and they want to get their musettes. Ineos and Mitchelton-Scott edge up, too. As first, I thought it was because of the crosswinds but it appears they just want their lunch. The wind comes later... presumably.


It appears that Nico Roche of Team Sunweb has taken a tumble. He's off the back and seems okay but has some scuffles on his jersey and shorts.


It's Rossetto who takes the 2pts over the summit ahead of Offredo, who pockets the remaining point on this tree-lined climb. Their gap is back up to 4'10".


We're on to the Cat.3 Cote de Chassagne-Saint-Denis (4.3km at 4.7%) and the gap is down to just three minutes now. The pace is slow today - for both the break and the peloton - and so expect a late finish.


The lead is down to 3'50" as the two escapees tackle a descent that takes the race to the foot of the next categorised climb.


Still a mammoth 150km to go in this stage, the longest of the 106th edition of the Tour. The two leaders - Offredo and Rossetto - broke away from the gun and have ridden for 80km off the front of the race. Their gap is 4'10".


And some other left-field highlights from yesterday's stage...


The finish yesterday was so steep that this happened...

Video - Greipel runs across finish line with bike


Who else could go for the win today? Alexander Kristoff has been pretty solid so far, while Sonny Colbrelli and Peter Sagan have featured in bunch sprints, the green jersey winning a reduced affair on Wednesday. Giacomo Nizzolo, Christophe Laporte and Matteo Trentin should be in the mix, while Michael Matthews has been knocking on the door but needs to sort out his Sunweb train. Andre Greipel is off the boil but will have a pop. But the big favourites remain Groenewegen, Viviani, Ewan and that man Sagan.


It's the familiar faces of Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal) on the front of the pack ahead of Ineos and Groupama-FDJ. They're keeping the break in check and hoping to tee things up for their fast men - Groenewegen, Viviani and Ewan.


The gap has stuck around the four-minute mark for the past hour. The peloton is all strung out but the pace isn't high. It's days like this that you really admire riders like Offredo and Rossetto, who are onto a hiding to nothing. That said, surely it's more stimilating and interesting riding ahead of the race - where you can really soak up the atmosphere - than behind in the stress of the pack.


Earlier, Mikael Cherel managed to change his shoe while riding, which takes some skill.


The gap is still 4'30" now for the two escapees, who have about as much chance of winning this stage as Tejay Van Garderen has of winning the Tour. (The American, if you just tuned in, had a nasty crash earlier today; he also finished eight minutes down on yesterday's winner Dylan Teuns on the first summit finish of the race).


So, we gave you one answer earlier on in the live coverage... but can you name every British stage winner of the Tour? Try our quiz below.


Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) leads the KOM standings on 43pts having got in the break yesterday and in Stage 4. His nearest opponent is Trek's Giulio Ciccone who moved onto 30pts yesterday en route to coming second at La Planche des Belles Filles. Third is Wanty-Gobert's Xandro Meurisse on 27pts.


Wow, the first of three categorised climbs completely passed me by. It was Offredo who picked up the single point at the top of the Cat.4 Col de Ferriere (2.7km at 4.6%).


Offredo was quite a reluctant addition to the break today, having darted into the wheel of his mate Rossetto expecting more riders to join him. He looked over his shoulders on numerous occasions - and once seemed to be dropping back into the pack - but then had second thoughts, probably after hearing his DS bark orders down his radio earpiece. Both he and Rossetto are back in the saddle after nasty injuries this year. Offredo crashed heavily in the GP de Denain and was sidelined for a month, while Rossetto broke his hip in training in March after avoiding a cat while out for a ride.


Neither of these escapees are a threat to Ciccone's yellow jersey: Rossetto is 49'17" down on GC and Offredo more than an hour in arrears!


The Lotto Soudal, Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-QuickStep teams of sprinters Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen and Elia Viviani have all sent one rider apiece onto the front of the pack to control the pace and ensure the gap doesn't get too long. Behind there are three Ineos riders, including defending champion Thomas and the Colombian Egan Bernal, who is in the white jersey by default as Giulio Ciccone is in yellow.


The second of our historical Re-Cycle series during this year's Tour de France doffs its hat to Brian Robinson on the sixtieth anniversary of his remarkable solo win in Stage 20 of the 1959 Tour. Britain's first ever Tour stage winner tells me, Felix Lowe, how he managed to solo to glory by over 20 minutes in Chalon-sur-Saône, the same Burgundy town that hosts the finale of today's Stage 7.


Back to the breakaway and our two plucky Frenchman continue their ride along the Doubs valley with a gap of 4'35" over the pack.


As a result, Thomas is ahead of all his big rivals on GC - as this enterprising Tweet shows.


Of all the GC favourites, Geraint Thomas fared the best on yesterday's first summit finish. The Welshman bade his time before riding clear of the select group of favourites to take fourth place in the stage - two seconds clear of Pinot, seven seconds clear of Quintana and Buchmann, nine seconds clear of Fuglsang, Landa, Porte, teammate Bernal, 14 seconds clear of Adam Yates and Dan Martin... Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali was 49 seconds back and Roman Bardet over a minute.


We should add that another rider to fall badly in that earlier crash was Mike Teunissen, the former yellow jersey at Jumbo-Visma. The Dutchman was a surprise winner of the opening stage in Brussels and led the race for two days. Although not as bloody as Van Garderen, who has rejoined the peloton after receiving treatment from the race doctor, the Dutchman is still off the back. Let's hope he's ok. It looked like he was clasping his collarbone when he was slumped on the road.


Meanwhile, the gap is up to 3'30" for the two leaders. Offredo is a specialist in this kind of futile break - and we praise him for it. Someone has to do it - and riding out ahead does reduce the chances of coming a cropper like Van Garderen.


Nasty cuts to Van Garderen's face and knees. He's back on his bike but today is going to be utter purgatory for the American.


CRASH! And a nasty one... a road partition took out a few of the EF Education First riders, most notably Tejay van Garderen. The pace was slow and they clearly weren't paying attention...


Just the two riders off the front, then, with no one opting to follow French duo Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert). They quickly build up a couple of minutes.


And they're off! The remaining 174 riders get this long stage under way... and we have some attacks from the gun from two plucky riders...


Here's the profile today - and all I can say is good luck to the commentary team... Just three lower-category climbs ahead of the flat run to the finish.

Stage 7 profile

Yesterday, Italy’s Giulio Ciccone was denied victory by Belgium’s Dylan Teuns in Stage 6 at La Super Planche des Belles Filles but took over the race lead from Julian Alaphilippe in dramatic circumstances - by just six seconds - on the first summit finish of the Tour de France. It was also a good day for Geraint Thomas, who put down a marker in the defence of his Tour crown.


Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to live coverage of Stage 7 of the Tour de France - at 230km it's the longest of the race.